More and more, consumers head online to research and make purchases. And for many, the buying process begins in the search engines. Rather than going directly to, say, an insurance company’s Web site, the consumer instead searches for “car insurance” and looks at the search results. “In today’s day and age, the average person doesn’t type into the address field to find the site they’re looking for,” says Charles Chehebar, founder and CEO of Web site verification seal provider SealCOS. “They’ll rather search for it and go from there, to avoid having a typo or mistyped term in there.”
With that in mind, how can brands stand out in the search results crowd? Here are two ideas from search engine optimization professionals.
1. Add trustmarks or verification seals to your site and SEO keyword descriptions. “A big challenge for brands these days, and there have been many court cases as well, is there are third-party sites that are impostors of the official sites, trying to make it look as if they’re the official sites,” says Chehebar. Having a trustmark or seal makes it easier for customers to distinguish brands from impostors, which benefits both the searcher and the brand. For the brand, it ensures its site is looked on positively by consumers, and for consumers, it cuts down on search time by helping to avoid irrelevant, imposter sites.
2. Leverage digital asset optimization. Search engine results no longer consist solely of Web pages—they return image, video, audio, PDF and text document results as well. To boost your rankings and catch searchers’ eyes, says Lee Odden, CEO of TopRank Online Marketing, optimize all your digital assets with keywords and links. “You could split a really good video into multiple assets actually—as an example, let’s say we’ve got a video and we upload it to YouTube, so now we can embed it to a blog post or a Web page using that embed code that Google provides us,” describes Odden. “We can take screen shots of important pieces of that video and then use those images as additional assets, optimize them and promote them accordingly. We could transcribe the audio, we could even split the audio off of the video and make it a podcast, and the transcription, of course, would be a text asset.
“It’s taking a look at all those other things that search engines go out, find, crawl and could display in the search results,” and using them to your benefit to stand out from the pack in search results pages, Odden adds.